About PJ

PJ Adams is a psychotherapist and best selling author who splits her time between California and Europe. She enjoys learning French and writing about travel, self help, and other topics. Follow her on Twitter @PJAdams10Facebook, YouTube.

For more information on Meandering Trail Media or PJ Adams Books OR to schedule an interview or book signing, contact: Info@pjadamsbooks.com OR John Birkhead, PR Director, john.birkhead@pjadamsbooks.com,  +1 (760) 707-2577, Fax +1 949-258-8693.

See our France books trailer HERE

See the Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire book trailer HERE. 

 

See the Intoxicating Southern France book trailer HERE 

See the Intoxicating Paris book trailer HERE     

         

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    PJ Adams

    PJ Adams is a psychotherapist and author in California.

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    Tuesday
    Apr262016

    France Off the Beaten Path Travel: Best Group Tour Experience in France

    France Off the Beaten Path Travel helmed by American turned French mom, wife, and travel pro Christy Destremau, offers popular tours for groups, couples, or individuals who long for an unmatched, hands-on experience in France.

    Endorsed by Forbes, Travel & Leisure, Fodor's, and Conde Nast among others, I can add my own two-thumbs-up to the long list of raves for these stellar group venues.

    Christy, and her knowledgeable guide staff, are all English speakers who live in France by the way. In 2016, the company celebrated 22 years of five-star small group, walking, gourmet foodie, wine and cultural tours exclusively in France.

    One of the elements I particuarly like is the all-inclusive packages that Christy offers to popular locales in Provence, Loire Valley, Bordeaux, and Champagne. (All of these are reachable by high-speed train directly from Paris or London by the way where you meet your tour guides upon arrival.) 

    What's included?

    Each inspiring itinerary is geared to the best of the region. Plus all guests are afforded deluxe transportation, superb historical hotel accommodations, sumptuous French meals, classified regional wines, and cooking classes delivered by celebrity Master and Michelin-starred chefs in their professional kitchens.

    The best part is the insider information and hand-on personal experiences guests receive as they travel the region. Guests get to tour the private wine caves in Bordeaux, for example, often with owner-experts.

    They go deep into the Champagne caverns in Reims to sample hundred-year-old bubblies that sell for thousands.

    They enjoy shopping at the street marchés and quaint villages. They learn cooking tips from chefs who sometimes become friends for life.

    And since Christy and her staff take photographs of every aspect of the tour, guests go home with a four-color electronic album with them as the "stars" of their trip--plus memories and stories for a lifetime.   

    I can highly recommend these France Off the Beaten Path tours--whether you're a single, a couple or a group who wants to sample the delights of France. Go to https://www.traveloffthebeatenpath.com to learn more about these fun tours, as well as dates and rates.

    Happy travels!

     

    Thursday
    Mar312016

    My Paris Top Tens

    I get asked often what my favorites are when visiting Paris. So here's my 2016 list:

    Breakfast: Angelina’s, Poilâne, Erik Kayser, Bread & Roses, Coffee Parisien, Frenchie to Go

    Lunch: Angelina’s, Framboise, L’Avant Comptoir, Les Cocottes, Taillevent, Les Fous de L’île

    Bistros or Restaurants: Bistro Paul Bert, Cuisine de Bar, Le Timbre, Ma Bourgogne, Septime, Georges, Chez Paul, Aux Lyonnaise, Le Fountaine de Mars, Le Soufflé, L’Estrapade, Chez L’Ami Jean, anything on Rue St. Dominic on the Left Bank

    Medium-Priced Hotels: Lyric Hotel, Hotel du Louvre, Hotel Langlois, New Orient Hotel, Hotel Beaubourg, Hotel Madeleine Plaza

    High-End Hotels: Four Seasons Hotel George V, Hotel Le Six, Hotel Luxembourg Parc, The Ritz, Hotel Plaza Athénée, Mandarin Oriental, Le Bristol Paris, The Peninsula Paris, Le Meurice, Park Hyatt Paris (go to any of these for an aperitif to “live the life” if you can’t afford to stay overnight)

    Apartment Rentals: parisaddress.com, parisstay.com, parisvacationapartments.com, vrbo.com

    Museum Must-Sees: Louvre, Orsay, Pompidou, Grand Palais, Petite Palais, Rodin, Carnavalet, Pantheon

    Walks: Paris-Walks, Discover Walks, New Paris Tours, Hidden Paris, CityFreeTour

    Sights: Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, Louvre, Champs-Élysée, Arc de Triomphe, Luxembourg Gardens, Marais, Catacombs, Palais Garnier, Versailles

    Shopping: Galeries Lafayette, Printemps, Le Bon Marché, shops along Rue Saint-Honoré, Saint-Germain-des-Prés and any place on the Left Bank

    Street Markets: Rue Cler, Raspail, Mouffetard, Bastille, Montorgueil

    Things to know:

    ·      Say hello (bonjour), goodbye (au revoir) and thank you (merci) in French each time you enter and exit a Paris establishment

    ·      Take an inexpensive walking tour or red bus tour of Paris to get oriented

    ·      Look for brides & grooms. This IS the wedding destination of the world

    ·      Be patient; the culture enjoys a leisurely pace

    ·      Wear good walking shoes

    ·      Bring wash cloths (they don't use these in France)

    ·      Have euros with you when you arrive so you don’t have to find an ATM or bank right away

    ·      Get a Paris Museum Pass in advance to save time and trouble

    ·      Stay at accommodations near the main area you want to visit

    ·      Use the Paris Metro app to get metro directions fast

    ·      Stay alert and avoid big crowds

    ·      Avoid on-the-street ATMs in Paris

    ·      Walk up the Eiffel Tour—faster then standing in line (take the elevator down)

    ·      Eat at least one high end meal, then try medium-end, low-end, and street crêpes to sample all that Paris has to offer food-wise. And of course don't miss the street markets where you can buy goodies for a picnic, then enjoy your lunch perched on a wall overlooking the Seine. (It's free!)

    ·      Don't miss the opportunity to enjoy jazz or a wine bar. Try O Château or Le Bristol

    ·      See my book Intoxicating Paris for more tips on maximizing your enjoyment of Paris

    Tuesday
    Mar222016

    Traveling with Discernment

    In the wake of new terrorism in the Brussels Airport and the user-friendly metro (I’ve been in both), I felt it was time to comment. I will be in Paris and the Loire in June. I will be in London, Amsterdam, Switzerland, and Paris in October. And I may be in France for the holidays. Bottom line? I will not be deterred from showing up in the places I love. But I WILL travel smart. Here are some tips for discerning travel.

    1. Travel light and move rapidly to your destination. Mobility is your friend—and schlepping loads of luggage is no longer chic or prudent.

    2. Have backup copies of your passport, driver’s license, tickets, etc. in at least two places. I also keep a set “in the cloud” so I can access my details even if my phone, computer, or laptop are inoperable.

    3. Learn emergency phrases you might need. In France, these might include “Help me” (Aidez moi) or “Stop bothering me” (Arrête de m'ennuyer).

    4. Look for police or military in your immediate vicinity; they will assist you if you need help or direction.

    5. Stay savvy. Have your bag or valuables in front of you not behind you in some huge backpack. Don’t become so engrossed in conversation that you forget to be aware of your surroundings.

    6. Wear good shoes in case you have to move quickly. Don't panic, get yourself to safety.

    7. Avoid big crowds or stay on the outskirts of a huge gathering. Go early or go late to avoid throngs of people. Buy city or museum passes to allow you quick entry so you don't have to stand in line at various sights.

    8. Have fun and enjoy your right to travel no matter what. --PJ     

    Sunday
    Jan172016

    2016 in France: Paris, Loire Valley & Champagne Get Top Priority

    Eiffel Tower 2016 is a big year for Meandering Trail Media. PJ is hard at work updating Intoxicating Paris, 2nd Edition. Additions will include: safe travel in and around Paris; Paris as the bride capital of the world; day trips from Paris to Champagne, Loire Valley, Giverny; overnight options to Normandy Beaches, Lyon, Provence, the French Riviera, and the Christmas Markets in Alsace; new chefs and their award-winning restaurants like Hélène Darroze; and much more. PJ @ Chambord

    The Meandering Trail Media team will also be in the Loire Valley (just west of Paris) doing further research on the "Valley of the Kings." Here is where there are more than 35 world-famous castles including Chenonceau, Chambord, Cheverny, Amboise, Villandry, and Azay-le-Rideau just to name a few. The Loire is also known as the "Garden of France." It's a lush area bursting with fruits, vegetables, game, fish, and some of the most famous cheese & wine in France. (Of course we'll have to sample along the way to bring you the full picture!)

    Chenonceau (photo by Christy Destremau, France Off the Beaten Path TravelThis photo of sublime Chenonceau by English-speaking travel pro Christy Destremau of France Off the Beaten Path Travel (https://www.traveloffthebeatenpath.com) reveals some of the extraordinary beauty of this storied area. (Christy is our go-to travel pro for all of France; she and her teams are multilingual and offer exceptional sightseeing-cooking-wine tasting options throughout France.) PJ's next new location book with be Intoxicating Greater Paris: Loire Valley set for publication in 2016. It will feature the sites, tastes, adventures, and magic of the Loire Valley (only two hours by train from Paris).

    In the fall, we'll be back in Champagne country to further explore the bubbly capital of France. First on our agenda is seeing the newly reopened Moet & Chandon Winery and communing with Dom Pérignon over an apero. Second will be to tour in depth some of the great champagne cellars in Reims including Ruinart, Pommery, and Taittinger (again, since we enjoyed it so much last time). And we'll meander around Epernay and along the Champagne Trail to explore the delights of "liquid light."

    Taittinger Tasting RoomDid you know, by the way that Champagne, France is the only area in the world that can officially call its bubbly "champagne"? Everything else is technically "sparkling wine"! We especially love reconnecting with our Champagne friends in Reims (some of them even tour the cellars on their days off from college).

    Finally, we'll revisit some of our favorite locales including Giverny, home of Monet's Gardens; the Rodin Museum (where Rodin's noted lover Camille Claudel has her own marvelous exhibition of sculture); and the newly reopened Ritz Hotel which is now more splendid than ever (but where Coco Chanel's ghost lingers still).

    GivernyFor the news on France, follow us here at www.meanderingtrailmedia.com, on Facebook, or on Twitter @PJAdams10 or @MeandTrailMedia.

    Have a sparkling 2016. Cheers!

    Thursday
    Dec172015

    France & England Christmas Markets Dazzle for the Holidays

    France and England are captivating locales for enjoying the holidays. Both countries mount fabulous Christmas extravaganzas perfect for family-friendly fun.

    You'll find skating rinks, sleigh rides, curb-side holiday stalls overflowing with toys, gifts, warm wine, and seasonal edibles while carolers harmonize to the melodies of the season. Along the way you'll meet friendly people more than happy to share the joys of Christmas with you. 

    On London's Regent Street for example, glittering holiday displays and bedazzling Christmas lights span the avenue for blocks. The result? A sparkling fantasyland of holiday eye candy.

    In London's famous Harrods department store, the food halls are festooned with decorations while the smell of roasting chestnuts fills the air. Here you'll find Christmas mince pies, sumptuous chocolates, buttery Christmas cookies, puddings for Christmas dinner, a plethora of holiday ornaments, PLUS an entire room devoted to royal paraphernalia you can purchase as the Queen, in her elegant white fur, looks on! 

    Over in Hyde Park, a multi-acre fun park called Winter Wonderland beckons. There are bright holiday rides galore plus Christmas stalls selling favorites like candy floss, duck fat chips, and plenty of British brew. One of my favs is this Pub Carousel where you can spin and sip a pint at the same time!

    Over in France, Paris notches up the glamour wattage even further for the holidays. Along the Champs-Elysées the Christmas stalls are filled with santons (Christmas figurines) for the family crèche, crêpes sizzle on the griddle, and all the Grands Magasins department store front windows draw crowds with their fetching holiday displays. Inside, magnificent Christmas trees like the one pictured in Galeries Lafayette greet all who enter.  

    But the finest holiday venue of all in my opinion is Strasbourg France, the Capital of Christmas. Only two hours or so by train from Paris, Strasbourg is probably where Santa gets HIS goodies since this is the biggest and oldest Christmas Market in Europe.

    Begun in 1570, Strasbourg, located in the Alsace region of France near Germany, is the center of all things Christmas. It has 11 separate holiday markets brimming with treasures and edibles. I recently had the opportunity to spend a week in this Christmasland of all Christmaslands.

    The entire town becomes a Holiday Wonderland this time of year. Individual markets fan out in multiple directions for miles. As I wandered through this extraordinary spectacle in the crisp winter air, I stuffed my shopping bags with handmade Alsatian ornaments, French candle holders, and handknit scarves (to name a few)--all the while sipping a yummy concotion called gluhwein (mulled wine with spices). And of course I couldn't resist the French food favorites: bredele (mouth-watering butter cookies), kougelhopf (iced bunt cakes of all sizes), gigantic pretzels, roasted nuts, nougat the size of bowling balls, succulent gingerbread, and of course plenty of sauerkraut, sausages, and Alsatian beer. 

    I dined at some wonderful Alsatian-style restaurants, took a fantastic ride on a segway through Strasbourg, sailed down the Lille River on a barge, and got to attend the opening of the Strasbourg Christmas Markets--one of the most memorable nights of my life. AND I think I spied a certain jolly gentleman dressed all in red with a ginormous pack over his shoulder disappearing around the Cathedral! (Or perhaps I only dreamed it; in this fairyland of Christmas, anything is possible!)

    I highly recommend spending the holidays in either England or France at least once in a lifetime. You'll meet joyful people and discover magical ways to share the holiday spirit.

    One final note: ship your goodies home or bring an extra suitcase! (I confess I shipped home 12 pounds of gingerbread! And we are still munching this heavenly stuff as I write this post.)

    Joyeux Noël and Happy Holidays to you and yours. And have an equally sugarplum-filled New Year! Cheers!